Self Help

Talent is Overrated

Geoff Colvin
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Self Help



Read Time

4 hours and 21 minutes

Why should you read it?

Talent Is Overrated argues that those who achieve excellence and success in their fields are not naturally more gifted than anybody. Instead, Geoff Colvin introduces the notion of deliberate practice, which consists in eliminating weaknesses with the help of a mentor or coach. Coaching is obviously a big factor in an athlete’s career on the field, but great coaching is as important in all aspects of life. An expert will be able to help you improve in certain areas that might not be apparent to you or other people with less knowledge.


One of the most popular Fortune articles in many years was a cover story called: "What It Takes to Be Great." Geoff Colvin offered new evidence that top performers in any field -- from Tiger Woods and Winston Churchill to Warren Buffett and Jack Welch -- are not determined by their inborn talents. Greatness doesn't come from DNA but from practice and perseverance honed over decades.

And not just plain old hard work, like your grandmother might have advocated, but a very specific kind of work. The key is how you practice, how you analyze the results of your progress and learn from your mistakes, that enables you to achieve greatness.

Now Colvin has expanded his article with much more scientific background and real-world examples. He shows that the skills of business: negotiating deals, evaluating financial statements, and all the rest, obey the principles that lead to greatness, so that anyone can get better at them with the right kind of effort. Even the hardest decisions and interactions can be systematically improved.

This new mind-set, combined with Colvin's practical advice, will change the way you think about your job and career, and will inspire you to achieve more in all you do.

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